Technophile

Huawei GT 2: The fitness smartwatch with long battery life

Kishore Bhargava | Updated on December 28, 2019 Published on December 28, 2019

An elegant and premium looking fitness and health companion with long battery life

With the wearables market booming, Huawei is in the race to bring out the go-to smartwatch for today’s fitness-focused users. The Huawei Watch GT2 is versatile and accurate fitness companion.

The company has even developed a special chipset and processor the Kirin A1 just for wearables. The chipset supports both the Bluetooth 5.1 and Bluetooth LE 5.1 protocols, allowing for connectivity for up to 150 meters and battery life of up to two weeks.

The Huawei Watch GT2 is that it looks elegant and premium. You’ll always find someone asking you which watch you’re wearing when they spot it on your wrist. It is styled more like a classic watch, and looks more so in its stainless steel casing.

Our review unit came with a nice pebble brown leather strap and a spare black silicone strap for swimming and other such activities. It has a distinct expensive look and feel about it. At 46mm, which is the variant we tried out, it’s a little large but once worn and used for a few days, you get used to it. It is also light enough to wear all day and all night, if you want to track your activity and sleep.

There’s also a 42mm dial option which looks and feels a little smaller but it has a smaller battery as well.

Time and time again

The most basic function of a watch is to tell time. I would, in fact, break that into four categories — time, alarms, timer and stopwatch.

The primary function of time is taken care of by the watch face of the watch. The GT2 comes with a variety of watch faces both digital and analog. Some crammed with tons of information, and some very minimal and stylish. While they can never be enough watch faces, there will be something for everyone on this device.

The watch faces are not very customisable. The ability to chose what information is displayed on the watch face is missing, and it would be a great addition to this watch. Since dual-time is an important feature for me, I do go looking for that in a watch. I found only one or two watch faces that provides dual-time, and the only customisation is the location of the second time zone. Interestingly, the watch also has a 24 hour non-rotating bezel which could have been used for GMT or a second time zone if it was rotatable.

There is actually a watch face available with a second hour hand, but it is for another watch in the Huawei stable, and not the GT2.

The timer on the GT2 offers eight preset options starting with a one minute timer and going up to two hours, and thankfully a custom option with hours, minutes and seconds. It is incredibly useful to have a custom timer with the minimum unit of seconds, which is a feature that is not always available in many watches.

The stopwatch on the Huawei GT2 is a normal digital stopwatch, with start/pause and reset options. The alarm function does offer up to five different alarms to be set in a combination of smart and/or repeatable alarms, which would satisfy most users.

The watch does feature an ‘always-on mode’, which allows you to select either the analog dial or a digital watch face, which will always be on. However, the battery-life is halved when this feature is on. But given that the battery actually lasts a long time, one need not worry about it too much.

The only downside is that it is not the same watch face as what you may have set as a default. There is an analog version and a digital version. But if you want the watch to be always-on then it does look elegant enough.

15 ways to workout

Where the Watch GT2 really shines is in the health department — which is what it’s really meant for.

With over 15 workout modes, it would satisfy most casual athletes and runners. Apart from the special workout modes, a basic activity tracker, step count, heart rate monitor, sleep monitor, it evens has a stress test.

I was able to compare the activity and heart rate monitors with other devices, and they seemed quite accurate. There was no way for me to check the stress test, but since it told me I am not stressed, I’ll go with that.

The health functions are supported by a companion app on the phone, and provide much greater detail and in many cases, useful recommendations and suggestions. In may case, looking at the sleep monitor, I got several suggestions.

One minor irritant with the workout functions, they do not get auto detected. Even a walk or run which would be easy to detect and start monitoring, needs to be initiated from the device.

Once you select the workout type, you will still need to press the ‘down’ button to actually get it to start monitoring, at least that was the case with an outdoor walk, which is what I tested.

The watch then very helpfully tells you that the work out has begun and during the workout it does speak to you every now and then. To end the workout, you press the ‘home’ button, and it gives you options to pause or end, and accordingly records the workout.

The data is then synced with the phone and more details are available in the health app.

Notifications on the watch are a simple affair. They are read-only. You get to chose which apps you want allow to notify you and the watch shows them to you on the wrist. It would have been great if the notifications were also actionable. A simple canned response or a yes/no or approve/deny action would make this so much better. Who knows, maybe a subsequent upgrade would provide that ability.

LiteOS

The watch uses the home grown operating system LiteOS. Navigation and usage of the watch is simple and intuitive. Swiping left or right will cycle through the watch, activity tracker, music, weather, stress and heart rate dials.

The home key brings up all the installed apps. The down key can be customised to any function, but by default brings up the workouts. Swiping up brings notifications and swiping down brings a set of quick actions and settings.

Music feature

The music feature on the watch deserves a special mention. For such a tiny form, the watch has a very good and clear speaker. This allows you to play music directly on the watch from the almost 2GB of storage that is available.

Getting the music onto the watch is a little slow, but it is a transfer from the phone. The watch app can also control music, or for that matter any media player, on the phone. I used it for Pocketcasts and it worked quite well.

Since the watch does have a speaker, it would be fair to assume that it also has a microphone. Indeed it does, and while the watch is not cellular, it does allow you to make and receive calls via bluetooth. The calls are crisp and clear. It currently works only with the phone app and not other calling apps, like WhatsApp, but surely that will be addressed in the future.

In all the watch GT 2 is actually a very compelling companion device for the phone. It allows many functions without having to grab the phone, and with a few improvements it could be smarter than a smart watch.

Comparing the GT2 to some of the other similar watches out there, the GT2 is very similar to the Amazefit GTR in design, form and functionality, but it is more expensive. The GT2 is ₹17,990, and the Amazefit GTR is ₹10,999. The Galaxy Watch (Bluetooth) is ₹23,200 and has a lot more to offer.

Pros: Elegant looks, long battery-life, works with most Android phones, also works with an iPhone, Bluetooth calls and music

Cons: Read-only notifications, No app store, no customisation, a little pricey

Price: ₹17,990 for the leather strap edition

Published on December 28, 2019
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